February 2013 Blizzard: Somerville Info Center
Information about the February blizzard in Somerville. Bookmark this page so you can check updated information. Leave a comment to share information about the blizzard with your Somerville neighbors.
Snow Emergency Ends Tuesday at 8 p.m., Schools Open on Wednesday
Update, Feb. 12, 6:55 p.m.: Earlier this afternoon we posted this article. It says the snow emergency ends at 8 p.m. Tuesday and that Somerville's public schools will be open on Wednesday.
Snow Emergency Back in Effect Until Further Notice, Schools Closed Through Wednesday
Update, Feb. 11, 2:20 p.m.: I just posted the following, which you can also find here:
Somerville's snow emergency, which includes a parking ban, will remain in effect until further notice, according to a constituent services alert from the city.
In addition, Somerville's public schools will remain closed through Wednesday, according to a Tweet from the city of Somerville.
The city's snow emergency was originally scheduled to end Monday at 6 p.m., but the city sent an alert at about 1:30 p.m. telling residents the snow emergency would, in fact, remain in effect until further notice.
Here's the text of the alert:
Hello, this is Jackie Rossetti from the City of Somerville with important snow emergency-related information for Monday, February 11th. Due to high snow accumulations and ongoing work to clear public streets and walkways, and the forecast for more potential snow events this week, the City’s snow emergency will REMAIN IN EFFECT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. Residents may continue to park in municipal or school lots until the snow emergency is lifted. Trash and recycling pickup schedules will continue as normal this week. DPW and contracted crews will continue to clear snow around-the-clock over the next week, including removing high snow banks that impair visibility, as well as at bus stops and crosswalks. To ensure safety of all residents, particularly children during this time, school has been canceled through Wednesday. More information and updates will be available via the City website, Facebook page and Twitter feeds, which can be found at www.somervillema.gov/socialmedia. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we work to ensure safety and accessibility throughout the City.
Snow emergency in effect until 6 p.m. Monday
Update, Feb. 10, 12:20 p.m.: Snow emergency—Somerville's snow emergency will remain in effect until Monday, Feb. 11, at 6 p.m., according to a constituent services alert from the city of Somerville.
Residents who parked in municipal lots will need to move their cars by 8 p.m. Monday.
Here's the text of the alert:
Hello, this is Jackie Rossetti from the City of Somerville with a storm update for Sunday, February 10th. The City's Snow Emergency will remain in effect until Monday, February 11th at 6pm, and the parking ban will continue to be enforced until that time. Vehicles parked in municipal lots will have until 8pm to be moved so that City crews may begin clean up of all school and metered parking lots. Please remember that residents and businesses MUST shovel the sidewalks in front of your property within 6 hours after the end of a storm or will be subject to fines. Shoveling snow into the street is not permitted. Please also remember to clear vents in your home and exhaust pipes on cars to prevent carbon monoxide and fire hazards. Additionally, please assist the Somerville Fire Department by clearing paths to fire hydrants in your neighborhood to provide access in case of an emergency. We thank you for your cooperation and patience throughout this difficult storm.
Schools closed Monday, trash pickup expecting normal Monday schedule
Update, Feb. 10, 11:40 a.m.: Schools—Somerville Public Schools will remain closed Monday, and all school activities will be canceled, according to the school system's website. School district offices will be open Monday.
Snow emergency—The Somerville snow emergency is still in effect, according to the city of Somerville Facebook page. The Facebook post says Department of Public Works crews will be clearing snow-emergency parking lots later this afternoon. When the snow emergency is lifted, residents will have two hours to move their cars out of the parking lots.
Trash pickup—As of Sunday morning, the city was planning a normal trash pickup schedule on Monday, according to an @311Somerville constituent services post. The Twitter post said: "As of right now, nothing has changed for pick up. If it does we will update website, FB (Facebook) and twitter."
Top five questions—The city posted in iits Facebook page "answers to the top 5 questions." Here's the post:
1. EMERGENCY STILL IN EFFECT: The snow emergency and parking ban is still in effect. We will announce the end of the emergency as soon as City officials make this decision. Please visit http://www.somervillema.gov/snow for guidelines on clearing and moving your car after the emergency ends.
2. PLOWING: If your street has not been plowed, please report it to 311. If you street was not plowed exactly to the even-side curb or if some snow was plowed onto the sidewalk, please understand that this was an extraordinary amount of snow. It may be this was the only option on your street. If you remain concerned, please report the issue to 311.
3. CITY LOTS: DPW expects to have school and City lots plowed by this afternoon. Once the emergency has been lifted, cars parked in these lots must be moved within 2 hours.
4. SIDEWALKS: By this morning all sidewalks should have been shoveled. Homeowners & businesses have 6 hours of daylight after the end of snowfall to clear sidewalks. Those who do not clear them may be subject to ticketing.
5. SHOVELING: Residents and businesses are NOT allowed to shovel snow into the street. This can create a dangerous situation for both drivers and emergency vehicles.
Red Line to resume some service Sunday, full service Monday
Update, Feb. 10, 11:20 a.m.: MBTA—Some Red Line service will begin today at 2 p.m., and full service on the Red Line and the rest of the MBTA's subway system will resume Monday morning, accoring to the MBTA's website.
Meanwhile, it looks like bus service will continue to be spotty today and into Monday. The MBTA asks bus customers to check the MBTA website for updates.
Here's what the MBTA wrote:
The MBTA will resume limited MBTA subway and key bus route service effective 2pm, Sunday, February 10, 2013. Limited service will operate on the MBTA's Red, Orange, Blue between Orient Heights and Government Center, and Green Line between Kenmore and Lechmere. Limited bus service will also operate on the 1, 23, 28, 39, and Silver Line Washington Street Only. Unless necessary, customers are encouraged to stay home and use service sparingly.
Regularly scheduled MBTA service will resume at the start of service on Monday, February 11, 2013.
Customers should expect significant delays and plan extra time for their Monday morning commute as MBTA service recovers from the impacts of the storm. Due to significant snow accumulations, customers are encouraged to use caution at station platforms and bus stops.
Many MBTA bus routes will continue to operate on snow routes as snow and ice continue to impact roadways and bus stops. Please check this site regularly for updates.
Update, Feb. 9, 4:20 p.m.: If you've got photos of today's snow sculpture parties in Davis and Union squares, share them here.
Update, Feb. 9, 1:40 p.m.: The Somerville resident who was without RCN cable and Internet connections (see below) was told he's one of 4,000 in the area without service.
Update, Feb. 9, 1:35 p.m.: MBTA—In regard to MBTA service, Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary Richard Davey said the following shortly before 1:30 p.m. at a televised press conference:
"Our goal, if we can, is to have some service tomorrow, but we're really focusing on Monday's rush hour."
Update, Feb. 9, 1:25 p.m.: Artisan's Asylum's website says it's expecting 600 people to participate in its Snow Day celebration in Union Square.
I want to see photos, folks! You can share them here.
Update, Feb. 9, 1:10 p.m.: The driving ban will be lifted at 4 p.m. Saturday, according to a Tweet from Gov. Deval Patrick.
Patrick, posting from @MassGovernor, Tweeted the following shortly before 1 p.m.:
"Driving ban lifted immediately for Nantucket County & for all communities west of I-91; driving ban lifted statewide as of 4 PM. #MAStorm"
Update, Feb. 9, 12:55 p.m.: One Somerville resident who lives in the Davis Square and Teele Square area reported his RCN cable and Internet connections are down. RCN told him it's part of a larger outage. I still have my RCN connection. If you're experiencing an outage, let us know in the comments section.
Update, Feb. 9, 12:45 p.m.: Another useful bit of advice from WHDH is to make sure the vents for your furnace, on the side of your home, are clear of snow. It can be dangerous if they're not clear.
Update, Feb. 9, 12:30 p.m.: WHDH just reported Somerville has received, so far, 28 inches of snow (see screen shot in photos section).
Looks like my sidewalk measurement from earlier this morning, which showed 15 to 17.5 inches of snow, may not have been scientifically accurate.
Update, Feb. 9, 11:45 a.m.: Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone just issued the following constituent services alert:
Hello, this is Mayor Joe Curtatone with an important storm update as of Saturday morning. The City of Somerville's Snow Emergency will remain in effect until further notice. The Governor's travel ban is also still in effect, and any driver on the road will be subject to action by local or state police. Snow and high winds are predicted for several more hours. Our DPW crews will continue to clear roadways throughout the weekend, and will plow to the curb to ensure access for all public safety vehicles. Due to poor visibility created by high winds and snow drifts, we urge all residents, especially small children, to stay off the roads until further notice. We will continue to provide updates as necessary, and you can also visit the City's Facebook page and Twitter feeds, or call 311 with any non-emergency questions. Thank you for your continued assistance as we work to make our City safe and accessible.
If you don't receive constituent services phone calls, you can sign up for them here.
Update, Feb. 9, 10:25 a.m.: Photos—I've took some photos on my short walk this morning and posted them here. Other folks in Somerville have also shared some great photos.
Remember, please be safe when taking photos.
Weather—The storm is still here, and WBUR is reporting it will taper off by this afternoon.
Update, Feb. 9, 10:00 a.m.: According to the NSTAR power outage map, as of 9:45 a.m., no one in Somerville was without power.
Update, Feb. 9, 9:45 a.m.: As of this morning, the travel ban across the state is still in effect.
According to NECN, the MBTA is not planning to resume service today. Joe Pesaturo, a spokesperson for the MBTA, told the news network the T will be making an assessment over the next 24 to 48 hours about when it can reopen. About reopening, he said, "Monday morning is our goal. That's what we'll be working feverishly for all weekend."
I went outside with a ruler this morning and tried to find a patch of sidewalk that wasn't affected by snow drifts, plowing mounds or snow that had fallen off a roof and piled up—in other words a "clean" patch of snow. I took two measurments. The first measurement showed 17 and a half inches of snow, the second measurement showed 15 inches of snow.
That said, on the sides of roads, where the plows have piled up snow, there are mounds as tall as people. And those are side streets. Along Broadway in Teele Square, there was a mound outside Magnificent Muffin that reached nearly halfway up the light pole.
I will be posting some photos soon, and I'll also provide a link where people can share any photos they have of the storm.
Update, Feb. 8, 11:45 p.m.: As of 11:30 p.m., the NSTAR power outage map showed Somerville had four customers without power. Meanwhile, WHDH reported 300,000 people were without power across Massachusetts. In regard to the driving ban across the state, the TV station said there was no set time, at the moment, for that ban to end.
In the Teele Square area, I've seen a handful of people walking in the streets, some of them with sleds, some of them stumbling around as if they'd had a festive evening.
Somerville Patch will check in again in the morning.
Update, Feb. 8, 9:45 p.m.: WHDH reported the snow storm has officially been declared a blizzard.
Update, Feb. 8, 9:25 p.m.: As of 9:15 p.m., the NSTAR power outage map showed Somerville had three customers without power. Winds are picking up.
Update, Feb. 8, 7:50 p.m.: In the photos section you can see a screen-shot of the WHDH map predicting the Somerville area has a "good chance" of power outages.
Also, WHDH, reporting from Plum Island, reported the island received 50 to 60 tons of sand to help the beach weather the storm. That sand came from the "MBTA Somerville Station area," the TV station reported. I'm not sure what that means, but I suspect it's a reference to Commuter Rail maintenance facility in the Inner Belt section of East Somerville. If anyone has a better explanation of where the sand came from, let us know. In any case, it's nice to see Somerville sand helping Plum Island.
Update, Feb. 8, 7:35 p.m.: No word yet on when the MBTA will resume service. A Red Line alert says, "Service will resume as soon as possible."
According to the NSTAR power outage map, at 7:15 p.m. no customers in Somerville were without power.
WHDH was reporting the storm, with strong winds, was expected to get worse during the middle of the night. It reported there was a "good chance" of power outages in the Somerville area.
Update, Feb. 8, 6 p.m.: According to an uncomfirmed police scanner transmission, there are reports of a naked runner near Davis Square in the area of Highland Avenue and Willow Avenue. This report is not confirmed.
Update, Feb. 8, 5:55 p.m.: Olde Magoune's Saloon is also open tonight, according to Twitter reports. I've added them to the list of open bars below.
Update, Feb. 8, 5:05 p.m.: Cabs—Just spoke to Green & Yellow Cab. They will run as long as they can tonight, but at some point they expect the snow will be too heavy and the city will order them to transport emergency personnel only. In other words, don't count on taking a cab anywhere tonight. Also, the wait time to get through toa dispatcher is quite long.
Davis vs. Union snow-building competition—Boston.com has this great article about two Saturday snow events planned in Somerville on Saturday. We already told you about Artisan's Asylum's plans for Snow Day in Union Square (see below). Another snow-building event is planned for Seven Hills Park in Davis Square. Which square can build the best snow stuff?
Update, Feb. 8, 4:55 p.m.: I just checked the Facebook pages of a few watering holes in Somerville to see if they're open. Some of them are. The following places are open Friday night, according to their respective Facebook pages:
- Orleans: Open. Serving Hurricanes and other disaster-related drinks in honor of the storm
- The Independent: Open Please walk, ski or sled, they say
- Bull McCabe's: Open
- Joshua Tree: Open
- Sally O'Brien's: Open. Facebook status is "Jameson snow cones."
- Casa B: Open
- Olde Magoun's Saloon (according to Twitter reports)
The following places are closed, according to their Facebook pages:
- The Painted Burro
The Burren didn't have a Facebook post, and they weren't picking up the phone.
Update, Feb. 8, 4:20 p.m.: Tags Hardware store in Porter Square is now closed. It closed at 4 p.m., according to a phone conversation with an employee. The hardware store will be open again Saturday at around 9 a.m., the employee said. He said they still have a good supply of shovels and salt. However, the supply of batteries is getting low.
Update, Feb. 8, 4:15 p.m.: NSTAR is warning customers that tens, if not hundreds of thousands of customers could lose power in the upcoming storm, which it is calling "potentially catastrophic," according to Boston.com.
In Somerville, trucks are busy salting and plowing roads.
Update, Feb. 8, 3:10 p.m.: Speaking of the driving ban issued by Gov. Patrick, WBUR says it's the first time such a ban has been issued since the Blizzard of '78.
Also, as a reminder, the MBTA is set to shut down at 3:30 p.m., about 20 minutes from the time of this posting.
Update, Feb. 8, 12:45: Gov. Deval Patrick announced he has ordered a ban on motor vehicle traffic, effective 4 p.m. Friday. In addition, the state will stop collecting tolls at 2 p.m.
Update, Feb. 8, 12:35 p.m.: In the last half hour there have been uncomfirmed police and fire scanner reports of at least two car accidents, one at Powder House Rotary, and another on Holland Street. There is also an unconfirmed scanner report of a disabled vehicle near Market Basket.
Meanwhile, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone just issued the following city alert through the city's constituent services phone network:
Hello, this is Mayor Joe Curtatone with an important public safety reminder. We are about to experience a serious weather event. As we continue to monitor the path and strength of the oncoming blizzard, please take extra precautions in advance to prepare for potential power outages associated with predicted high winds and heavy, wet snow. Stock enough food and medication for your family members and pets for a 3 to 5 day period. Be sure you have batteries for flashlights, and place them throughout your home. During power outages, use caution by limiting use of candles and be sure to clear vents in your home of snow and ice. Charge your cell phones, but keep their use to a minimum during power outages. During the storm, please remember to check on elderly or disabled family members and neighbors, and call 911 if you have an emergency. For non-emergency inquiries, please call 311. We will continue to monitor the storm, and will provide updates as necessary. You can also check the City website, Facebook page, and Twitter feeds for updated alerts and information. Thank you, and please be safe.
You can sign up for city alerts, which come to your phone and email address, here.
Update, Feb. 8, 12:15 p.m.: For those of you who worship in Roman Catholic churches, the Archdiocese of Boston is asking parishioners to be safe this weekend and to pay attention to travel advisories. In regard to Sunday Mass, if roads are not safe by then, parishioners should not risk their safety to attend church. The Archdiocese said this about Sunday worship:
"In the event that roadways are not clear for travel on Sunday, the faithful are reminded that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass does not apply when there is grave difficulty in fulfilling this obligation. (See Code of Canon Law, Canon 1248 §2)"
Update, Feb. 8, 10:40 p.m.:
Also, if you're still looking for parking, I saw some decent spots on Powder House Boulevard and on College Avenue across from the Tufts University fields.
Police are currently driving through neighborhoods announcing the snow emergency through bullhorns. I also saw one officer physically knock on a woman's door to inform her she needs to move her car.
Library closure—Somerville Public Libraries will be closed on Saturday, according to a city of Somerville Twitter post.
Salting and snow—Department of Public Works trucks have started salting roads, and, if you didn't notice, it's snowing.
With a major snow storm expected to hit the Somerville area Friday and Saturday, Somerville Patch will work to compile local information about the storm here.
Below are some bits of information and links you may find useful.
You may want to bookmark this page in order to check updated information. Also, if you want to share news about the storm with your Somerville neighbors, leave a comment below. Among other things, you can share photos and video by clicking the "Upload Photos and Videos" button.
Snow emergency information
- A snow emergency in Somerville goes into effect at 10 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7. Residents need to move cars by 2 a.m. Friday, Feb. 8.
- Information about snow emergency procedures in Somerville: (Somerville Patch summary) (city of Somerville)
- Map of snow-emergency parking lots in Somerville
School closure information
- Somerville Public Schools are closed on Friday, Feb. 8. School activities are also canceled on Saturday, Feb. 9
MBTA closes 3:30 p.m. Friday
All modes of transportation on the MBTA will close at 3:30 p.m. Friday, according to the transportation authority's website.
- "The City of Somerville will operate with emergency personnel only on Friday," according to an announcement from the city.
Friday trash pickup
- If your normal trash pickup day is Friday, put your trash out by 6 a.m. Crews will be collecting trash early.
City activities canceled
- Official city activities have been canceled on Friday, Feb. 8 and Saturday, Feb. 9.
- Homeowners must shovel the sidewalks outside their homes. They havesix daylight hours after the snow stops to shovel. They should also use sand and salt where necessary. Fines for not shoveling range from $25 to $100.
- The Somerville Fire Department asks homeowners to clear away snow from the nearest fire hydrant around their home. "We realize that the last thing anyone wants to do after shoveling out their property is to clear more snow, but the extra effort could be life-saving," the fire department wrote. See the photos section for a depiction of hydrant shoveling.
Events and event closures
- Somerville Patch will try to provide updates regarding events in Somerville that are canceled or postponed due to the blizzard. Event organizers, please leave a comment below if you have information you want to share.
- Union Square Snow Day: On Saturday afternoon, after the storm, Artisan's Asylum is planning a snow day in Union Square. Here's the description from Artisan's Asylum's website: "Grab your buckets, shovels and gloves and join Artisan’s Asylum as we set up some speakers, put out some hot chocolate, and build snow forts, snowmen, and whatever other snow sculpture we want in Union Square!" Check out these photos of a similar snow day from 2011. Clearly, this event depends on the weather. If conditions are miserable or unsafe, it won't take place.
- Artisan's Asylum, since we're on the topic, will be closed Friday.
- Somerville Public Libraries will be closed Saturday.
- Sledding: After the storm stops, if you're looking for a place to go sledding, here are some recommendations.
Some useful Somerville phone numbers and websites
- Emergencies: 911
- Downed trees and branches: 311 (617-666-3311 from cell phone).
- Report power outage: Contact NSTAR at 800-592-2000 or online.
- Storm preparedness information from the NSTAR Storm Center
- NSTAR power outage map
- Information from city: City website. Sign up for constituent services phone calls to receive important storm information. City Facebook page. City Twitter feed. City's constituent services 311 Twitter feed. City Cable TV is on channel 13 for RCN and Channel 16 for Comcast.